2011 Ride Summary
Press Release - Event Summary
The Central Plateau Scooter Challenge was organised by Terena Currey after reading about the Tranz Alpine Scooter Safari in the AirForce magazine.
Each rider who registered for the Central Plateau Scooter Challenge set up a personal fundraising page and gained pledges from friends and family for their efforts.
The weather leading up for the Challenge was brilliant although the weather forecast predicted showers and northerlies.
Although Saturday, March 26th dawned to a drizzly, overcast morning that didn't bode well for the day ahead, on arrival at Trafalgar Square a whole pile of people with big grins on their faces started to arrive, eager to start the Challenge and support Child Cancer.
The Central Plateau Scooter Challenge was not a race, it was designed to be the coldest, longest, hardest, most grueling and uncomfortable test of endurance on a city scooter to raise money and awareness for children suffering from cancer. Riders did this to show their support for the hardship those living with cancer go through during their treatment - the Challenge is nothing compared to that!
Participants included parents, survivors, hospital nurses and many others. Riders came from all walks of life and from all across NZ - with contingents from as far as Dargaville in the North, Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington, and in the South, Christchurch, and Oamaru.
Some daring people came in a variety of costumes including a couple of nuns on choppers, a diver in wetsuit complete with snorkle and mask, a rastafarian with dreads on the helmet, "The Stig", a couple of convicts, and a "little devil" with a horned helmet just to name a few.
The brightest team would have had to have been the "Ladies of Harley" or the Ladies in Pink as they became known, with their hot pink t-shirts, and pink cheerleading pom-poms that were used indiscriminately, regardless of who they went past!
Scooters were also dressed to complement their owners personalities, flowers adorned one wee blue bike, the "General Lee" showed up, complete with the air horn to match, a copper kettle scooter, and a flying sccoter broomstick.
The group left Trafalgar Square carpark at 7.30am just as the showers stopped. The first person to unfortunately break down, did so in the carpark with a flat tyre. The first catch up was made at Turakina's tennis courts, to allow the "more leisurely" among us to catch up. The first food break was made at the Bulls Bus Station for a "tank 'n tummy".
The enthusiasm for the ride was emphasised by "manic tooting" of scooter horns once the Fire Truck escort sounded it's 5 minute warning. Some bikers had to be even be held back, so they didn't jump the gun.
The ride to Hunterville was a gentle climb and was designed to lure the riders into a false sense of security. The next leg was more of a challenge, with the Mangaweka deviation hill, as well as the pub that had to be passed by....oh the agony of it all!
The weather was better from Hunterville to Mangaweka raising the hopes of all scooterists on the Challenge. This hope was dashed as we all approache Taihape for lunch only to see the black clouds rolling in from the North. Only one scooterist came to grief on this leg, due to a fencing staple that "jumped up and bit the back tyre, bucking the rider off!". The worst injury of the day, thank goodness, with a cut to the little finger and bruised pride. This later earned the rider the "Oopsie Award".
The stop at Taihape was a well earned break with a $6 lunch at the Gumboot Manor, great food, quick service and a lot of laughing and talking amongst the scooter riders.
It was literally "onwards and upwards" from Taihape to Waiouru, home of the New Zealand Army. With a very steep hill just out of Taihape that left many with a case of "I think I can, I think I can, I think I can...thank goodness I did!" A few thought they would have to push when the slow speeds started to affect their riding balance, and not a few thought "well it can't be any worse than that...."
Waiouru reminded us why the Army sends all of it's new recruits there, with a warning of Gale Force Winds and Pounding Rain and visibility down to 100m. The photo opportunity at the summit was a cold and windy attempt with the cameraman from Top Gear valiantly trying to keep the rain off his lens while balancing on the back of a trailer. The Desert Road at its finest!.
Photos taken, scooters and riders well washed by the torrential rain, the next leg was perhaps the most challenging with the ride through to Turangi. 42kms through the "3 Sisters", the longest stretch of the Rangipo Desert.
A quick break in Turangi for much needed hot drinks and a thaw out, was just what the doctor ordered and after a very quick 30mins, all were back onto the scooters for the final leg into Taupo.
All the riders were met on the outskirts of Taupo by one of the local constabulary and a well deserved parade of scooterists were escorted into the township, complete with lights, sirens and huge smiles, to the finish line at the Taupo RSA.
A large puddle lent itself well to a comedic moment as a rider dressed in a wetsuit took "a swim". All the rain in Taupo had resulted in said puddle, about 6 inches deep, outside the RSA. Breaststroke, Aussie Crawl were all demonstrated to the amusment of riders and RSA veterans alike.
Out of the 63 scooters starting the Challenge, there were only 3 that went into retirement due to various mechanical failures, predominantly flat tyres. The event was run with prizes for such things as Most Money Raised, Best Dressed Rider, Oldest Scooter To Complete The Trip and for Best Hard Luck Story. Prizes included a helicopter safari flight, digital cameras, and buffet dinners.
This year saw 63 riders and over $35,000 raised for the Child Cancer Foundation (visit the fundraising home page at www.fundraiseonline.co.nz for the most up-to-date running total). All of the money raised went directly to The Child Cancer Foundation.
It is anticipated that the Central Plateau Scooter Challenge will become a Bi-Annual event. The organiser were amazed at the level of interest this year and hope that the event can continue to raise money for a great cause.
Please check-out the Gallery page for a small selection of images.
Many thanks to everyone involved!
Central Plateau Scooter Challenge Organiser